Health News: October 2009

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Critical details about drug safety and effectiveness are often missing from the official prescribing information. That's the conclusion of two Dartmouth researchers writing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Lisa Schwartz and Dr. Steve Woloshin scoured clinical trial... (Read More)
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French researchers have independently observed that studies published in prestigious journals often don't tell enough about adverse drug effects. They reviewed over 100 reports of randomized controlled drug trials and discovered that one quarter of the articles left out severe... (Read More)
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When a new generation of anti-psychotic medications was introduced more than a decade ago physicians hoped these drugs represented a better way to treat mental illness. The expectation was that drugs such as Risperdal, Zyprexa, Abilify and Seroquel would be... (Read More)
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For decades people have been told that it is critical to get their cholesterol levels down, especially bad LDL cholesterol. But there is growing recognition that good HDL cholesterol may be nearly as important. A new study in the Archives... (Read More)
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Vitamin D deficiency is common, but new research shows that it can be treated easily and cheaply. Scientists in Boston report that they used 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 once a week to treat vitamin D deficiency in 86 patients.... (Read More)
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Scientists have been striving to link diet to breast cancer risk for years. Finally a large epidemiological study in Europe has come up with a few foods to avoid. More than 350,000 women in 10 countries participated in the European... (Read More)
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Brushing and flossing daily could help ward off rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study. Rheumatologists in Minnesota studied more than 6,000 people between 1987 and 1998. Everyone had at least four complete checkups during that time as well as... (Read More)
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Hand washing is an important infection control method in hospitals across the country. A new mathematical model suggests that hospitals may have to become even more diligent. The investigators explored the impact of just one doctor, nurse or technician who... (Read More)
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Learning a new skill is supposed to help us stay sharp as we age, whether it is learning to play an instrument or taking up ballroom dancing. A new study shows that learning to surf the Internet can also improve... (Read More)

Skim Milk Fights Gout

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Gout is an extremely painful inflammation of the joints and soft tissue caused by the formation of crystals of uric acid. The feet and big toe are frequently affected, but gout can also impact ankles, knees and elbows. Some research... (Read More)
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A study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology reported that disappointing results from a study of the dietary supplement glucosamine. Over 200 subjects with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to receive... (Read More)
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Chronic fatigue syndrome has been extremely controversial since it was first identified in the 1980s. No cause is known, and many physicians are skeptical that it is even a real medical condition. They have suggested that many sufferers have depression... (Read More)
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Green tea has been getting a lot of attention lately for its potential ability to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's. There are also tantalizing data to suggest that green tea might have some... (Read More)
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Women who take hormone replacement therapy or HRT often complain that such medications may cause breast tenderness. Now a new analysis of data from the Women's Health Initiative suggests that such a symptom might be cause for concern. Investigators from... (Read More)
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People concerned about their cognitive function are often encouraged to use it or lose it. They may work crossword puzzles or play computer games designed to test memory and spatial coordination. Perhaps they should try juggling as well. Researchers in... (Read More)
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Studies have shown that women who eat more whole grains in their daily diets are less susceptible to high blood pressure and heart disease. Now results from the 50,000-man Health Professionals Follow-up Study show that men also benefit from eating... (Read More)
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The Mediterranean diet wins again. Over the last several years research has accumulated that a diet high in vegetables, legumes, fruit, nuts, fish and olive oil and low in meat is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, asthma,... (Read More)
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Fish consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and death from heart attacks. There are also data suggesting that fish can help protect the brain from strokes. And fish eaters appear to be less vulnerable to... (Read More)
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People who are overweight are at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Now add psychological depression to that list. People who perceive themselves as being overweight frequently suffer from stress, feelings of inadequacy, and... (Read More)
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Diuretics are the unsung heroes of blood pressure treatment. Such drugs have been around for decades and are among the most inexpensive pills in the pharmacy. They often don't get much respect compared to newer and pricier anti-hypertensive medications. But... (Read More)
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Millions of Americans are now taking dietary supplements that are not well regulated by any government agency. Many dietary supplements contain a wide variety of undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients. Without oversight, unscrupulous manufacturers will take advantage of an unsuspecting public. It's... (Read More)
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Cases of H1N1 flu continue to rise throughout the northern hemisphere. Schools are reporting absences above normal for this time of year, and many hospitals are experiencing great demand for emergency services. The H1N1 vaccine will not become widely available... (Read More)
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Children with chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes should be among the first to receive Tamiflu if they come down with the H1N1 2009 influenza. Unfortunately, however, the dosing instructions that come with the liquid form of... (Read More)
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Prostate cancer poses a dilemma. Many times the tumor may be so slow-growing that it does not require treatment. In other cases, however, the tumor becomes life-threatening. That's why men found to have prostate tumors are sometimes advised to watch... (Read More)
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Men who want to reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer need to exercise regularly. In a study of nearly 200 men who underwent prostate biopsies, those who walked at least three hours or more each week were less likely... (Read More)
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Researchers have long maintained that social support can make a difference in the outcome of breast cancer. Others have doubted whether studies of this effect were sufficiently rigorous. Now scientists studying mice have strong evidence that social isolation accelerates cancer... (Read More)
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As American legislators debate the overhaul of our health care system, they may want to check the most recent report card. The Conference Board of Canada has been issuing health care report cards since 1996. This year Canada earned a... (Read More)